I'm reading a meandering book by Philip Hoare ostensibly on the great 16th Century artist Albrecht Durer. It's called "Albert and the Whale: Albrecht Durer and How Art Imagines Our World." You can read the review here.
I picked the book up because I knew one thing about Durer and I was intrigued by that one thing. That Durer drew his famous rendering of the Rhinoceros without ever having seen a rhinoceros.
As someone who's often charged professionally with explaining things I'm not sure I fully understand, with some arrogance I likened myself to Durer. We often have to do the best we can with incomplete information.
For instance, the way I always explained the difference between binary computing and Quantum computing was through this example. If you're in the Library of Congress and someone puts a giant X on one of the billions of pages in their collection, a binary computer, with superfast speeds, will essentially flip through all those pages in order to locate the X. A Quantum computer--through the spooky magic of Qbits, can look at all of those billions of pages at once--finding the X much more quickly.
I don't understand the how. But the example helps clarify the what.
Durer was there, too. Which angels and devils and rhinoceros and sea creatures great and small.
Hoare's book is a ramble. And Wednesday night, I read less about Durer than I would have liked and more about the Pulitzer Prize-winning American poet, Marianne Moore.
On October 19th, 1955, Moore was approached by an executive from Ford Motor Company. They needed help in naming a new luxury automobile--and they turned to Moore.
A Mr. Robert Young of Ford briefed Moore with these words:
We should like this name to be more than a label. Specifically, we should like it to have a compelling quality in itself and by itself. To convey, through association or other conjuration, some visceral feeling of elegance, fleetness, advanced features and design. A name, in short, that flashes a dramatically desirable picture in people's minds.
Bad briefs are nothing new.
However, I love the ambition of bringing poetry to commerce.
- The Ford Silver Sword
- Hurricane Hirundo (swallow)
- Hurricane Aquila (eagle)
- Hurricane Accipter (hawk)
- The Impeccable
- The Resilient Bullet
- Intelligent Bullet
- Bullet Cloisoné
- Bullet Lavolta
- The Intelligent Whale
- The Ford Fabergé (That there is also a perfume Fabergé seems to me to do no harm, for here allusion is to the original silversmith)
- The Arc-en-Ciel (the rainbow)
- Mongoose Civique
- Regna Racer (couronne a couronne) sovereign to sovereign
- Fée Rapide (Aerofee, Aero Faire, Fee Aiglette, Magi-faire) Comme Il Faire
- Tonnere Alifère (winged thunder)
- Aliforme Alifère (wing-slender a-wing)
- Turbotorc (used as an adjective by Plymouth)
- Thunderbird Allié (Cousin Thunderbird)
- Thunder Crester
- Dearborn Diamanté
- Taper Racer
- Varsity Stroke
- Tir á l'arc (bull's eye)
- Cresta Lark
- Triskelion (three legs running)
- Pluma Piluma (hairfine, feather-foot)
- Adante con Moto (description of a good motor?)
- Turcotinga (turqoise cotinga—the cotinga being a South-American finch or sparrow) solid indigo.
- Utopian Turtletop